Visit to Kenya by Mrs. Akie Abe, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan
25-28 August 2016
From 25 to 28 August 2016, Mrs. Akie Abe, the spouse of Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, accompanied her husband on his state visit to Kenya on the occasion of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI). Mrs. Abe engaged in joint efforts for the success of TICAD VI, a summit led by Japan, with Kenya as the host country. She was also actively involved in programs such as visits to institutions which correspond with the key issues discussed at TICAD VI and meetings aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Japan and Kenya. The outline of the visit is as follows:
26 August 2016
(1) Meeting with Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, Spouse of the President of Kenya
Mrs. Abe held a meeting with Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. At the meeting Mrs. Kenyatta welcomed the visit of Mrs. Abe and told her intention to cooperate with for the success of TICAD VI which was scheduled to start from 27 August 2016. Mrs. Abe replied that she was glad to see Mrs. Kenyatta again for the first time since last August, when Mrs. Kenyatta had visited to Japan to participate in "The World Assembly for Women: WAW! 2015." Mrs. Abe also said that she would like to make efforts together to further promote the exchanges between Asia and Africa and the development of two regions through activities including TICAD. They exchanged their views on issues of common interests such as health and wildlife protection and their activities on these issues.
(2) Participation in the seminar held by "Our SDGs"
Mrs. Abe participated in a seminar on women's health which was organized by "Our SDGs," a Japanese civil society organization. Professor Miriam Were, who were awarded the First Hideo Noguchi Africa Prize, moderated the seminar. In her opening remark, Mrs. Abe emphasized the importance of women's initiative in health related issues.
(3) Visit to Moyo Children Centre
Mrs. Abe visited "Moyo Children Centre," a facility run by a Japanese woman and fosters children with various difficulties in a Nairobi's outlying town, Thika. At the Centre, Mrs. Abe engaged with children by talking, playing with "Taketombo", a flying toy made with bamboo, and planting a symbol tree. The children introduced themselves to Mrs. Abe with a story of their dream for future and asked questions about Japan. Furthermore, Mrs. Abe presented soccer balls to each child, one by one with her own hands, with a hope of their healthy growth. These soccer balls were kindly donated by the Japan Football Association as a part of Sport for Tomorrow project.
(4) Meeting with Japanese women working in Kenya
Mrs. Abe had a dinner meeting with women who are from Japan and working at various fields in Kenya such as medical care, welfare, education, business and development. The participants introduced how they did start working in Kenya and commented on their future perspectives.
27 August 2016
(1)Co-hosting of a Seminar Themed on Child and Maternal Health
Mrs. Abe co-hosted a seminar which had a theme of "Investing in Child and Maternal Health for Social Transformation in Africa" with Mrs. Kenyatta as a part of TICAD VI spouse program. On the occasion of TICADV in 2013, Mrs. Abe also held an international symposium on health.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Abe expressed her gratitude for having the opportunity again to discuss health system, which is also one of the priority areas of TICAD VI, with African first ladies and pointed out the importance of discussion focusing on children and women's health for the development of Africa.
Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other representatives from relevant organizations participated in the seminar and discussed a wide range of topics related to child and maternal health. Based on the expertise of the participants, exchanges of opinion were made vibrantly on topics such as the importance of Universal Health Coverage(UHC), early detection of cancer and efforts to tackle with HIV/AIDS. After the seminar, Mrs. Abe joined the luncheon hosted by the Government of Kenya with other participants including African leaders and their spouses.
(2) Visit to the Japan Fair
Mrs. Abe made a visit to the Japan Fair, an exhibition held by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on the occasion of TICADVI. This exhibition aimed to introduce Japan's advanced technology, products and services to African countries. Exhibitors explained to Mrs. Abe about their efforts in Africa.
(3) Participation in the Mobile Laboratory Donating Ceremony
Mrs. Abe participated in a donating ceremony of a Mobile Laboratory, a vehicle equipped with medical and examination devices. Japanese companies donated this vehicle to the "Beyond Zero," a project in the field of health led by Mrs. Kenyatta.
(4) Visit to Kenyan and African Exhibitions
With Mrs. Kenyatta, Mrs. Abe visited Kenyan exhibition. She was explained about famous Kenyan goods and efforts to stimulate Kenyan economy. At the exhibition, Mrs. Abe also had a chance to see a Mobile Clinic, which was deployed to each Kenyan county. After that, Mrs. Abe also paid a visit to African exhibition with Mrs. Kenyatta and others.
(5) Meeting with Representatives of Millennium Villages Project
Mrs. Abe had a meeting with people who works for Sauri village in Kenya, where the Millennium Villages Project is ongoing. She exchanged views with participants on the progress and prospect of their works in the village on health-related issues including HIV/AIDS.
28 August 2016
(1) Participation to Spouse Program organized by Kenya
Mrs. Abe participated in the TICAD VI spouse program organized by the Government of Kenya and visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kazuri Beads Factory with Mrs. Kenyatta and other first ladies of Africa. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust provides temporary protection to orphaned elephants and rhinoceros that lost their mothers because of illegal hunting for their ivory and horns in Kenyan national parks or protected areas. Kazuri Beads factory aims to provide and sustain employment opportunities for socially underprivileged population such as single mothers.
(2) Meeting with Pro-Japanese Kenyans
Mrs. Abe had a lunch meeting with Pro-Japanese Kenyans who have been to Japan as government scholarship students, JICA trainees or through the JET program. Mrs. Abe listened to their impression about Japan and success stories in their respective fields capitalizing on their experience in Japan. They also exchanged views on the future of African development as well as on how to further promote Japan-Africa exchange.
(3) Visit to the Nairobi Japanese School
Mrs. Abe visited the Nairobi Japanese School and was welcomed by its students as well as students from Kilimani Primary School, a local school which has active exchanges with the Japanese school. Mrs. Abe was greeted with Japanese drum music played by Japanese students and conversed and also interacted with students by singing Japanese songs.
On this occasion, Mrs. Abe presented both schools with "Akie Library", a collection of Japan-related books including those offered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In the hope to contribute to further popularization of Japanese language education and culture as well as enriched exchanges with the visited countries, Mrs. Abe, with the contribution of associated organizations, donates a collection of Japanese books and learning materials for Japanese language learners in Japanese schools and universities with Japanese language on culture programs of the countries she visited.